When I first became a Christian, I wanted to be a super-Christian overnight. I was looking for the Cliffs Notes on spirituality, the shortcut to spiritual growth. I wanted to know how I could immediately be like a mega-believer. In time, I realized there is no angle. There is no such thing as a super-Christian. There is only a super-Savior, because I am a super-sinner.
Some people, it seems, are like yo-yos. They either are excited and passionate about their faith, or they are doing things they shouldn’t be doing now that they are Christians. That is why David wrote, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10 NKJV). The word “steadfast” could better be translated “constant.” David was asking for a constant spirit, for consistency.
So how do we find that consistency? Just walk with God. Man has walked on the top of Mount Everest, on the bottom of the ocean, and even on the moon. But the Bible tells the story of a man who walked with God. His name was Enoch, and in his story, we discover how to find longevity in our spiritual lives.
Enoch lived at a unique time in human history, just before Noah built his ark and God judged the Earth with the Flood. It was such a wicked time that God said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever” (Genesis 6:3). The Bible tells us that humanity was corrupt and was always thinking about violent things to do. Finally God effectively said, “That’s it. I can’t take it anymore. I am going to judge the earth and start over again.” You might say that Enoch was a last-days believer in a sense. He lived just before the judgment of God.
There is a parallel to our times, because Jesus said, “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day” (Luke 17:26 NLT). We, too, are living in violent times. It is commonplace now to read about new violence and new killing and new threats of terrorism in today’s headlines.
Violence is all around us, and Enoch lived in a violent time as well. But he showed that it is possible to live a godly life in a godless world. We may wonder whether it is possible to live a godly life today. Is it possible to be honest? Is it possible to have integrity? Is it possible to put God first? The answer is yes. We are not the first generation to be living in twisted times. It can be done – by walking with God as Enoch did.
Enoch was one of two men in the Bible who never saw death. The other was Elijah. He is also mentioned, along with Noah, as someone who specifically walked with God. Only five passages in the Bible refer to Enoch, and two of them are genealogies. He made it into Hebrews 11, the Bible’s Hall of Faith: “It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying – ‘he disappeared, because God took him.’ For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God” (Hebrews 11:6).
Enoch was a human being like any of us. He faced the same temptations, the same pressures and the same challenges. Yet he walked with God. To walk with God does not mean we must live merely by rules and regulations. That is how a lot of people envision the Christian life. But nothing could be further from the truth. Walking with God is living life to its fullest.
If you walk with God, everything else will fall into place. The prophet Amos said, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3 NKJV) The idea is two people walking together as a single unit, as though they were one. If two people are riding a tandem bicycle, they need to pedal together. Or if two people are paddling a canoe, both need to paddle in rhythm. It is the idea of God and an individual walking together in rhythm, in harmony with God. It is not trying to get God to go where we want him to go, but going where God wants us to go.
Years ago I was scuba diving in Hawaii, and we went to a depth of about 100 feet, the deepest I had ever gone. By the time we reached that depth, I had used up almost all of my air. So I gestured to the instructor that I was losing air. He looked at my gauge and then gestured to the back of his tank. Hanging off the back of his tank was an extra breathing apparatus called an octopus. The problem was the hose from the octopus to his tank was very short, so I had to stay with him. Wherever he swam, I had to swim. When he stopped, I had to stop. I had to stay in harmony with him – or drown.
That is the idea of walking with God. It is to get into harmony with him. It is to want what he wants and to go in the direction he wants us to go.
God is essentially saying, “Hold on to my hand. Don’t pull away.” But sometimes we say, “Oh, no. I have a better idea. I want to do this instead.” And that is foolish, because God is only trying to protect us from danger and get us to where we need to go.
Enoch walked with God in a godless world, and then he went to be with God. Scripture tells us that “Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him” (Genesis 5:23–24 NLT). In Enoch’s case, he didn’t die, but went straight into the presence of God. His life of walking with God was rewarded. I think that one day Enoch just went out to take a walk and probably said to his wife, “Honey, I am going to go take a walk with God.” And then he just kept walking, right into God’s presence. It serves as a reminder that if we walk with God on earth, we will walk with God in heaven.
There is no shortcut to spiritual growth that I could give you today. But I will say this: Just walk with God. Just concentrate on that in the days, weeks and years to come.